The Transnational Public Sphere: Building a Model for a European Context

Title: The Transnational Public Sphere: Building a Model for a European Context
Authors: Warsaba, David
Date: 2014-08-26
Abstract: With globalization, the state has become a less cohesive political unit. Even the democratic process itself has begun to stretch across national boundaries. The public sphere, however, has been historically conceived in the context of a contained, national space where it is much easier to understand who is directly affected by political decisions. Thus, to remain an essential part of democratic theory, the public sphere needs a new model for a transnational context. If one looks to test the viability of this model with a real world case study, the European Union (EU) is the most obvious choice. With an explicit overarching political structure, the EU has a more clear-cut obligation to cultivate a legitimating public sphere beyond the national level. This paper looks to explore the concept of the public sphere within the context of the globalized world and whether the EU has been successful in establishing a transnational public sphere capable of legitimizing its unprecedented form of democracy. I will ultimately argue that the transnational public sphere necessitates increased participation from non-state actors, especially civil society, and that it is this requirement that the EU has in particular failed to meet. The deficiency in the EU’s democratic legitimacy can be attributed to a European political structure that favours intergovernmental decision-making while granting supranational centralization of power.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
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